LONGER Sunday trading hours could encourage more people into the city centre and should be embraced, the boss of Preston’s largest shopping centre said today.
It comes ahead of today’s budget where George Osborne was expected to unveil proposals to give elected mayors and councils the power to relax Sunday trading laws.
Sundays can be busier than Saturdays and this is evident when we look deeper into our shopping centre figuresAndrew Stringer
The law currently allows major stores to open for only six hours.
General manager at St George’s Shopping Centre, Andrew Stringer believes the move to allow round-the-clock Sunday shopping is vital for keeping up with shopper demand and meeting the needs of customers.
He said: “We have got to move with the times and embrace this plan.
“Sunday can be one of the best trading days of the week in terms of getting the tills ringing. Sundays can be busier than Saturdays and this is evident when we look deeper into our shopping centre figures.
“Shoppers’ habits have changed and the world is a different place to when the laws were originally introduced. Why should we be restricted to six hours on a Sunday? Online is 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”
He added: “There’s an argument to suggest Sundays are family days but they don’t necessarily need to be spent at home. There’s plenty to keep the family entertained both in the shopping centre and in and around the city.
“If all of the city’s retailers embrace the budget proposals it could make a massive difference and it could even the norm.”
Currently larger retailers in England and Wales are only permitted to trade for six hours on a Sunday, although shops with less than 3,000sq ft of floor space are allowed to open all day.
Peter Jackson, managing director of Peter Jackson the Jeweller based in the shopping centre, said “It is my view that every shopping centre should be able to open when they want in order to meet changing shopping habits. Everything we do should be decided by our customers not the government.” Suzie Richards, store manager of Pandora in the centre, agreed that the relaxed trading laws could make a difference if every shop got involved.